Tale Of The Tape: San Francisco 49ers At Jacksonville Jaguars
- QuarterbackThe 49ers are winning games and showing hints of an explosive offense, but Colin Kaepernick hasn’t quite reached the expectations that many had for him this season. It seems like he’s quite close, but there’s just a hint of hesitation to his game that was not there last year. Kaepernick showed his explosive running ability against the Titans in Week Seven and was solid overall.Chad Henne does a credible job with the tools at his disposal in Jacksonville, but that’s not enough to help the Jaguars win many games. Henne reads defenses and has a slightly better than average arm and a decent release, but he lacks consistency and his accuracy can be an issue for a team that is desperate to play consistently for four quarters.
- OffenseThe 49ers are a big and powerful offensive team that basically likes to bludgeon opponents. That means that running back Frank Gore is almost always going to be option No. 1. Gore has run for 547 yards and five TDs, and he punishes opposing tacklers. Anquan Boldin is one of the most physical wide receivers in the league, while tight end Vernon Davis can go downfield and make big plays.The Jaguars are still searching for that first victory, and if they are going to get it, look for the skill position players to lead the way. Start off with wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who is an athletic player who can dominate with his speed and burst. Maurice Jones-Drew is a versatile running back who is struggling this season. Cecil Shorts is a full-effort receiver who gets the most out of his ability.
- DefenseThe 49ers provide a nasty, physical test for any opponent, and this unit should be able to impose its will on the Jaguars. The most consistent and productive defensive player is linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who leads the team with 59 tackles and he also has two forced fumbles. Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks has 3.5 sacks and must become an even greater force rushing the quarterback.The Jaguars appear to be a complete mess, but they have an outstanding defensive player in middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, who has a team-high 68 tackles. CB Will Blackmon often struggles in coverage, but he has at least shown that he can cover on occasion because he leads the team with 10 passes defensed and he also has 25 tackles and an interception.
- Special TeamsThe 49ers are average when it comes to kickoff and punt coverage, and they are not getting much of a lift from their own return game. The Niners brought in Phil Dawson to get a huge upgrade in the placekicking, but he has not been overly impressive. Dawson has made 9-of-12 FG attempts this season.The Jaguars do a decent job in punt and kickoff coverage, as they have not allowed a return longer than 36 yards. Josh Scobee has made all nine of his FG attempts, but he’s not a big factor since the Jaguars are usually trailing by double digits. Bryan Anger is averaging 47.0 yards per punt.
The 49ers should not have any trouble with this game, as they are bigger, stronger and better than the Jaguars across the board. If the Niners don’t start their bye week break early, they should dominate this game by at least two touchdowns. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor